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Tampa code enforcement asking homeowners to clear alleys

Police couldn't access overgrown alleys in search
Posted at 6:51 PM, Dec 22, 2017

Tampa code enforcement officers are now working to make sure alleys behind homes in some of the city's oldest neighborhoods are kept clear following the search for the suspect in the Seminole Heights murders.

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Some of these alleys that were used once for garbage trucks, were so overgrown, police cruisers could not go down them to search. Police believed the alleys could be an easy spot for the suspect to hide.

As a result, Tampa Code Enforcement made it a top priority to clean them out, spending days and taxpayer resources to clean them up.

However, the city says it's on homeowners to keep these alleys clear for their own safety.

"People can see people coming and going," said Sal Ruggerio, director of the City of Tampa's Neighborhood Empowerment Division. "Police can get down the alleys. Bad guys can't hide things in there."

Eva Nieto lives in South Seminole Heights and says in some part of the city, the alleys remain overgrown and littered with trash and debris.

"You can't see down them," Nieto said. "You don't even know how people can get down them to hide in them but they do."

Ruggerio says homeowners who allow their alleys to get severely overgrown or full of trash and debris face citations.

Homeowners like Nieto say if more people make the effort to keep them clear, it helps everyone.

You can see your neighbors behind you and you may keep up your backyard too," she said.